Island Health is reminding residents to take steps to stay healthy and injury-free to avoid potential long waits in the emergency department this holiday season.
The health authority said people should wear appropriate footwear outside to avoid slips and falls, put on a seat belt and never drink and drive.
It also encourages residents to wash their hands frequently and wear a mask, when necessary, to avoid spreading or contracting COVID-19 or other viruses and bacteria.
The health authority recommends people speak with a family doctor for non-urgent health concerns and familiarize themselves with the locations and opening hours of walk-in clinics.
“Should you or someone in your care have a critical or life-threatening condition such as a major injury, trouble breathing, symptoms of a stroke or heart attack, loss of consciousness or severe bleeding, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department. Do not delay seeking emergency care,” reads a statement from Island Health.
It also suggests noting the weekend and holiday hours of local pharmacies and ensuring a supply of medication to control potential fever and pain in children.
Island Health recommends seeing a doctor before the holidays for things like prescription refills, if necessary, to avoid a wait in the emergency department.
The health authority said its facilities have COVID-19 safety protocols in place and it is safe to seek care for emergencies and for scheduled appointments including medical imaging, diagnostics, and laboratory services.
Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can visit bc.thrive.health to perform a self-assessment.